Who/What kind of tax planning advice/help do we need?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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nfs
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:32 pm

Who/What kind of tax planning advice/help do we need?

Post by nfs » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:45 pm

Hubby and I have been married for 4 years and have filed taxes using TurboTax each of those years (including this one). However, at various points in the past each of us at some point has had a CPA to do taxes when things were more complex. I think we're coming up on that point again, but with a different set of more complex situations. I would really love some input about what type of person we might want to look for or questions we may want to ask to confirm we have the right person.

Goal of meeting with some kind of tax-related proffssional
  • Tax planning (ie strategy around investments, LLC income, trust implications, etc)
  • Help us to double check our withholding since we still don't have that wright
  • Someone who can ensure we properly file for 2019
Previous 4 years of taxes (itemized)
  • W2 for me and husband
  • Modest interest income
  • Mortgage deduction
  • Modest charitable giving
  • Dealing with Oregon % worked
Adding these situations in 2019
  • LLC expenses/income in 2019 - building a rental property with a partner
  • K-1 for my mom's new trust (not quite yet signed so I don't have full details)
  • Figuring out withholding due to significant changes in how my state income is being handled now (work in Oregon, but some days work form home in WA and now this is being made more official with employer)
  • First year we are cashing out existing ESPP/RSUs and will continue to cash out as things vest
  • Foreign inheritance/bank account
I'm wondering if it may make sense to find someone and ask them to review our last few years of taxes as well. Thoughts on that?

JBTX
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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Who/What kind of tax planning advice/help do we need?

Post by JBTX » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:27 pm

Seems to me given some of the new issues this year a good cpa may be worth it.

Topic Author
nfs
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:32 pm

Re: Who/What kind of tax planning advice/help do we need?

Post by nfs » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:26 am

Based on the things I need help with, is there any wisdom about if I need a CPA or an EA (or some other person i don't know about)? Or do I need to find someone (regardless of endorsement) who says they are familiar with these issues?

Thanks!

dbr
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Re: Who/What kind of tax planning advice/help do we need?

Post by dbr » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:45 am

I would start with interviewing people at a larger group or firm to get their answer to who is a good fit for your needs.

My experience is that I needed some tax planning regarding ongoing management stock options. I asked the accountant who was doing my parents tax returns and he referred me to a financial planner in their firm. That person did an analysis charging an hourly fee for service and I got the information I was looking for. They didn't try to upsell me to do investment management either. Knowing what I know now the most cost effective thing would have been to figure it out myself, but at the time it was money well spent. Note there is a big difference between being a person who prepares tax returns and being a person who does tax planning. If trusts and estate work is involved that is likely a different person again.

jebmke
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Who/What kind of tax planning advice/help do we need?

Post by jebmke » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:54 am

nfs wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:26 am
Based on the things I need help with, is there any wisdom about if I need a CPA or an EA (or some other person i don't know about)? Or do I need to find someone (regardless of endorsement) who says they are familiar with these issues?

Thanks!
I agree with DBR. Find a good "mid-sized" firm ("large" to me is someone like PWC which may well be over-kill and expensive; they are very good - I used them while I was an ex-pat but I wasn't paying the bill).

If your tax planning involves significant estate issues, you may be better served by finding a law firm that has partners with some tax expertise. This is a different type of expertise than one normally finds at accounting firms who typically focus on compliance (tax prep, etc.).
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

aprilcpa
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:24 pm

Re: Who/What kind of tax planning advice/help do we need?

Post by aprilcpa » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:11 am

nfs wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:45 pm
  • Foreign inheritance/bank account
I'm wondering if it may make sense to find someone and ask them to review our last few years of taxes as well. Thoughts on that?
This area is where you need to concentrate your search -the other items are more general questions but this is a specialty item. I imagine most CPA's are going to ask to see your prior year returns and will point out things that look out of place. And as others have mentioned, there is a difference between tax planning and tax prep - make sure you specify what you are looking for.

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